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Best use for extra domains

11:06 pm on May 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I have registered a bunch of domains with my preferred search term within the domain name. What advice for the best use for the additional domains? I obviously want to drive more traffic to my primary site - I am in the service industry.

Should I point the extra domains to my primary site?
Create sites and content for the extra domains which link to my primary domain?

Other ideas?

3:38 am on May 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Actually, using the extra domains for that purpose can potentially be one of the worst things you can do. Google can easily tell if one user is creating multiple domains and linking them all to one primary domain. This is known as 'link farming', and is an SEO practice that can get your site penalized.

Unfortunately, I don't have a good answer for what the best thing to do is :). I just wanted to let you know about this so you don't shoot yourself in the foot.
7:30 am on May 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Are any of them names that people might really type in on a hunch, in the way that if you're looking for a major store's www site you might try www.{storename}.com without bothering to look it up? Then you definitely want to send them straight to your real site. If google kicks up a fuss, tell them you're doing a public service. I mean, who else would be able to use the name?

Consider the former pbs dot com. I don't know who they belonged to or what business they were in, but they had a box on their front page saying "If you're looking for public television..." pointing visitors to pbs dot org. Guess how I know this. (I just checked. Whoever they were, they have thrown in the towel and either gone out of business or moved to a new domain name, because dot com now redirects to dot org. I can't imagine google getting mad at pbs for this, can you?)

You can do all kinds of stuff with a genuinely vacant domain. I've got one right now* that I'm using for robot experiments. One directory open, one directory off-limits (they are imaginatively named /yesfile and /nofile). The site's weeny little log file tells me who ignored the directive and went to both places. The first thing I learned is that it's a good idea to have a robots.txt, because otherwise your error log clogs up with robots looking for one and not finding it :)

* I was supposed to set up a site for my art studio, but-- stop me if you've heard this one-- the studio director ran off to France for two months and forgot to e-mail me a starter batch of pictures. Can't say much about an art studio without pictures.